How and Austin Startup is Delivering Functional Fashion for Those With Chronic Illnesses

Your email address

Choose your Industry

Abilitee Adaptive Wear is an Austin, Texas based startup. We sat down with their chief operating officer, Saba Kamaras, to learn more about how they’re helping people with chronic illnesses and their experience using CoverWallet.

Abilitee Adaptive Wear

What does your business do?

Abilitee Adaptive Wear makes clothing and accessories for people with unique medical needs or those who use medical devices. We are all about inclusive design for patient comfort, access, and style. Currently we carry items for people with feeding tubes, ports, catheters, bodysuits for kids with special needs, post-surgical recovery wear, and much more!

How was the business started?

Abilitee was founded by pediatric surgeon Dr. Julie Sanchez and designer and medical student Marta Elena Cortez-Neavel in 2015. They wanted to ease the frustration felt by patients and their families who had to use traditional clothing while accessing their ports or tubes. As the co-founders learned more about this community and the need to have more inclusive products, Abilitee’s product line kept growing! Abilitee is built on the idea of empowering patients by making products that function well and look great. I got involved with the company while I was getting my MBA at the University of Texas in Austin. My niece had just been born and required a feeding tube when she was just four days old so I learned about the need for adaptive wear through her experience. I started a project around the topic for school and put out a survey on Facebook to get feedback on it, and our co-founder Marta responded, which is how I learned about the company. I had been working in women’s fashion for eight years but I really wanted to work for a company that had purpose, so this was a perfect fit for me.

What’s next for the company?

We’re about to start a wholesale partnership with an online distributor. We also have plans to work with healthcare providers, like physical therapists and hospitals, to increase customer awareness. We constantly have new products launching and even more in the pipeline. We always want customer feedback since all of our products are inspired and tested by our patients. We really want to hear their ideas about they products they need.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone thinking of starting their own business?

I would say plan as much as possible, but be flexible enough to know your plans will change. You have to roll with the punches and take advantage of opportunities as they come up and know which ones to say no to.

How did you discover CoverWallet and what has the customer experience been like?

We found CoverWallet while searching for insurance providers for small businesses like ours. Our agent was great at answering all our questions quickly! Our products overlap a few industries and our supply chain is quite varied, and he was able to accurately categorize our needs for the proper coverage.

Abilitee Adaptive Wear welcomes new ideas and feedback from those in the adaptive community, you can find them here, and make sure to follow them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.